An Avant-Garde Christmas Concert by the S. F. Conservatory of New Music Ensemble
Charles Amirkhanian introduces a concert by the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble, originally recorded on December 5, 1969, at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. After an initial selection of 15th century Christmas carols the concert veers sharply towards the 20th century with a performance of Anton Webern’s brief, but wholly satisfying, “Three Small Pieces, Op. 11,” for piano and cello. This is followed by two distinctly avant-garde compositions, Christian Wolff’s “Electric Spring III,” scored for violin, horn, and electric guitar and bass, and Robert Moran’s suitably entitled, aleatoric work, “Elegant Journey with Stopping Points of Interest,” for two spatially placed instrumental ensembles. The second half of the concert begins with a further selection of Christmas carols, followed by the whimsical, yet rarely performed, “Poème Symphonique” by György Ligeti. This later work is scored for 100 metronomes, and the audience appears to be taken back by the considerable volume of the sound, and seems split as to whether the work is a joke or a serious exploration of rhythm. The concert than concludes with a version of Erik Satie’s puppet opera “Genevieve de Braban,” orchestrated by Ivan Tcherepnin & Howard Hersh.
Run time 93 min
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